Baptist Church Offers Care to Those Fleeing Ethnic Violence In South Sudan

Mary Loso, women's leader at Faith Baptist Church in Nimule, South Sudan, is housing 150 internally displaced persons on her church's compound, where she and her family live.  IMB photo by JoAnn Bradberry.
Mary Loso, women’s leader at Faith Baptist Church in Nimule, South Sudan, is housing 150 internally displaced persons on her church’s compound, where she and her family live. IMB photo by JoAnn Bradberry.

As a third of South Sudan’s population faces starvation, International Mission Board personnel and Baptist Global Response are partnering with a local church to care for those fleeing ethnic violence.

Nearly four million people may starve to death as a result of the country’s now five-month-old civil war, the United Nations reports.

On the first day of 2014, Mary Loso was cooking dinner for her children when the trucks arrived carrying those trying to escape the ongoing fighting. One by one — a total of seven trucks, 150 people — they pulled into the Faith Baptist Church compound where the women’s leader lives with her husband and 11 children.

Loso panicked. “I was afraid at first,” Loso said. “I was afraid there wasn’t enough food.”

But they were her people, and she couldn’t turn them away. They were among the hundreds of thousands fleeing their homes in South Sudan because of the violence that began when ethnic fighting broke out in the capital city of Juba.

Nimule is a border town — a natural stopping point for refugees on their way out of South Sudan, fleeing to Uganda. As the town flooded with those fleeing, word began to spread about Loso’s hospitality.

That first day, Loso gathered the displaced people together with her family, and called the church elders. Church members soon arrived at the compound to pray. Three times a day, they stopped their work to pray together. They prayed for peace in the country, for their lost husbands and brothers, for enough food for the day.

The church took up an offering to buy some food. Eventually, some of the families moved onto the church compound, into an open-air sanctuary and into the homes of the pastors.

“All-in-all, God stood strong,” Loso said.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
JoAnn Bradberry

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